In this class, we will use the tool to annotate in the margins of websites and online PDF readings.

Reading annotations will typically due on Tuesdays of each week at 12:00 pm (noon)

Getting Started

  • Visit the Hypothesis “Get Started” page and follow the steps there.
    IMPORTANT: When creating your account, set your username to your preferred firstname.lastname, as shown in the format below. If it says your username is already taken, change it to “firstname.lastname.sru”

What’s an annotation?

Like this, but without the cramped handwriting.

Your goal is to write thoughtful comments, questions, and connections with other readings, and to engage in dialogue to help other students become better prepared for our class discussions. Please see Annotation Tips for Students.

For example, you can:

  • make linkages between concepts in the readings and lecture/class material
  • pose questions or seek clarifications about the author’s key ideas
  • compare and contrast with other readings or concepts (if you wish, add a link)
  • define difficult words and explain how the word is used in the text
  • challenge an author’s claims, evidence, assumptions, or perspective
  • respond constructively to an annotation posted by another reader

You do not need to necessarily annotate every single reading, and quality is definitely preferred over quantity. Still, you should show evidence of engaged, active reading on a regular basis.

Is this just busywork?

Definitely not! Social annotation has a few different goals

  1. Facilitate deeper engagement with the reading.
    It’s easy (especially in a digital format) to skim passively over a text without really thinking much about the content or arguments. When finished, you’ve technically “done the reading” but won’t probably retain much. Research shows that active, critical engagement improves retention and understanding.
  2. Learn from others
    When you elaborate, restate an idea, make a connection to class material, or share a question about what you’re reading, you’re enhancing everyone else’s thinking about the reading, too – and in turn you benefit from classmates’ insights. In this way annotation functions as a “warm-up” to in-class discussion.
  3. More equitable engagement
    Some people love to speak in class, and thrive on in-person discussion. Others may have great insights that we never hear, because they’re uncomfortable speaking in class. Annotations give all students a chance to share ideas and dialogue.

Feedback on your annotations

Annotations are evaluated on a simple 1-3 scale. The descriptions below are generalized; more specific feedback will be given in the D2L gradebook.